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Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business

Matt Lee and Ted Lee take on the competitive, wild world of high-end catering, exposing the secrets of a food business few home cooks or restaurant chefs ever experience.

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Hotbox reveals the real-life drama behind cavernous event spaces and soaring white tents, where cooking conditions have more in common with a mobile army hospital than a restaurant. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside-out. It’s a realm where you find eccentric characters, working in extreme conditions, who must produce magical events and instantly adapt when, for instance, the host’s toast runs a half-hour too long, a hail storm erupts, or a rolling rack of hundreds of ice cream desserts goes wheels-up.

Whether they’re dashing through black-tie fundraisers, celebrity-spotting at a Hamptons cookout, or following a silverware crew at 3:00 a.m. in a warehouse in New Jersey, the Lee brothers guide you on a romp from the inner circle—the elite team of chefs using little more than their wits and Sterno to turn out lamb shanks for eight hundred—to the outer reaches of the industries that facilitate the most dazzling galas. You’ll never attend a party—or entertain on your own—in the same way after reading this book.

Praise for Hotbox:


“Fast and furious and funny, Hotbox digs deep into the messy, mad world of catering. It’s an absorbing, immersive, appetizing tale, written with sharp intelligence and style.”


Hotbox takes you from the frying pan into the fire. The cutthroat world of catered events come to life in this compelling book by the Lee Brothers.”


“Catering chefs and their teams are often the unsung heroes of the culinary world. With compelling storytelling, Matt and Ted Lee take you behind-the-scenes to show the challenges, perseverance, integrity, and work ethic necessary to achieve excellence.”


“Who knew that food improv was a thing? Hotbox is wicked and funny as hell. The Lee Bros. journeyed into the lowly outback of haute cuisine—catering—and came out with a new genre, food bouffe.”


“A brilliant, gleeful, fly-on-the-lip-of-a-saucepan narrative, full of tips and secrets, and proof (yet again) that some of our greatest stories are in how we make food. You will never ever take a passed hors d’oeuvre for granted.”